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Maya Hu Dobbert da Cruz tackles fast fashion

Photo courtesy of Maya du Dobert da Cruz
Maya Hu Dobbert da Cruz (’26) wears her sustainable clothing designs. Da Cruz entered the fashion world at a young age due to her parents both working in the creative design through architecture.

Maya Hu Dobbert da Cruz (’26) said she has been influenced by her passion for fashion throughout her life, and it has inspired her to help reduce fast fashion. As da Cruz defines it, fast fashion is the system of producing cheap and trendy clothes while damaging the environment in order to gain revenue. 

Da Cruz said she had always been exposed to art and design growing up due to her parent’s careers in architecture, but her interest in fashion initially developed after she began taking sewing classes.

“At home, I was already surrounded with a lot of art,” da Cruz said. “Around seven, I started sewing classes, and also my grandma loved sewing and, like, I just started getting really into it.”

Furthermore, da Cruz said her parents encouraged her interest in fashion by taking her to many art exhibitions. She said she has also been inspired by designers such as Iris van Herpen, an artist to whom she looks up.

“I first found out about her in my Grade 7 Wearable Arts class where Ms. Zellar told me how she created clothes as more of an art piece instead of clothing,” da Cruz said. “The way she is into doing something that is very out there and not something that is trending is special to me.”

Overall, da Cruz said she loves the freedom and creativity that designing fashion involves.

“I love being able to create things and not having a specific order or way I have to create them,” da Cruz said. “When you manufacture clothing, people can’t tell you how or what to make, you can go very expressional and in your own direction.”

Although fashion allows for self-expression and voice, da Cruz said there is a negative component of fast fashion and overconsumption.

“Fast fashion and climate change has, like, really impacted my thoughts,” da Cruz said. “Fast fashion is such a big thing because it is the second most polluting problem for the environment.”

Da Cruz said when she first started learning how to sew, most of her projects were based on fashion’s impact on the environment and the importance of sustainability.

In addition to creating clothes that are fashionable and unique in style, da Cruz creates them while being sustainable. Da Cruz furthers sustainability by using recycled materials to make her own clothes along with not purchasing clothing negatively impacting the environment and buying from charity shops and second-hand stores.

Ultimately, da Cruz said everyone should do their best to avoid contributing to the devastating mass of fast fashion to save the environment.

“Even though people are doing things to help the environment, it’s important to continue them,” da Cruz said. “People don’t have to make huge changes. It’s the small things that make the big impacts.”

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